European Commission issues proposals
to standardise EU customs penalties.
The European Commission is proposing to
standardise customs penalties across the EU, first by outlining a uniform list
of offences with recommended fines and fees, said an EC statement.
Penalties for customs offences vary across the 28
states even though the entire EU is under the same customs legislation.
"There is no point in a solid, single set of
rules if we do not also have a common approach to responding when they are
broken," said EU Customs Commissioner Algirdas Semeta.
"There is a patchwork of responses to
rule-breakers. Today's proposal will create a more level playing field for
businesses, a more secure market for citizens and a more uniformly managed
customs union," he said.
Sanctions would be leveled in the case of unpaid
duties, a failure to declare goods, falsified or incorrect documents, the
unauthorised removal of goods from the customs area, and other offences.
Punishment for minor customs violations, such as
inadvertent errors, could be equivalent to one per cent of the value of the
goods being shipped.
For the most serious offences, the EC proposes to
levy a fine of 30 per cent of the goods' value or up to EUR45,000 (US$61,983).
The commission said these fines would also take
into account "the nature and circumstances of the infringement, including the
frequency and duration, whether a trusted trader is involved, and the level of